Member of the reality-based community of progressive (not anonymous) Massachusetts blogs
LTC is putting together a live City Council candidates’ forum on Oct 9, 6:30pm! It will air on Comcast Channel 8 and online at LTC.org.
Candidates, listen up! I’m opening the window for more responses on questionnaires. There were at least two candidates whose technical glitches prevented them from submitting on time. Any candidate submitting now will be asterisked as submitting after publication, so that people understand that they had a chance to see other responses before responding (it’s only fair to acknowledge those who submitted before publication, blind to any other answers). I understand that the timeframe for getting in answers the first time around was pretty short, so hopefully this gives more candidates a chance to submit.
I will be taking submissions through 5pm Friday, October 4th, at which time the window will permanently close and I will do a second round of publication, expanding the table to accommodate any new submissions and putting essay answers into the mix. I will also be taking out candidates who didn’t qualify for November as their answers are now moot. The files are here for downloading (Excel and Word) - if you need a different file format let me know by email (lynne [at] leftinlowell.com).
And, if any candidate is having problems with using the files I posted, feel free to respond directly in an email, just reference the question numbers for the yes/no portion, and on the essay questions make sure I know which answers belong to which questions.
I am not sending out more snail mail so online is the only way I’m notifying folks. If you are a campaign volunteer of a candidate who did not submit answers please make sure they hear about this.
All right, I’m not jumping down any one’s throat here on the vote count, but I would really like an honest explanation how this worked out.
In the unofficial numbers tweeted by a Sun reporter (which we posted below), and I do realize they are unofficial, there are a couple numbers which are different than the final spreadsheet the Lowell Sun posted later on.
While the total of votes and ballots cast are the same in both images, the vote totals for two specific candidates differ. In other words, the newer spreadsheet from the Sun has Derek Mitchell with 32 fewer votes than the older, unofficial tweeted printout, and Vesna Nuon has 32 more in the new sheet than in that earlier tweeted image.
A simple transcribing error by the Sun or whoever gave them those original unofficial numbers doesn’t explain this. If that were to happen, you would see someone’s numbers being different between unofficial and the second Sun spreadsheet, not vote totals for two candidates moving exactly the same number, one up and one down. And with optical scanners, the printouts at the end from the machines might be unofficial, but really, they’re usually damned accurate. So…what happened? Inquiring minds want to know. I assume there’s no hand-counting going on, except as spot random auditing (do we even do that?).
I’m sure there’s an explanation, but I’d like to see someone figure out what that is and tell us. It’s always best when we can have full confidence in our voting systems and this just seemed weird.
- - -
Another minor error in the Sun’s more official, newer spreadsheet is that the total votes cast for 5-2 is off by three votes (listed as 659 when it should be 662), which you could account for if their spreadsheet failed to count the 3 write-ins for that precinct. Since the box with that erroneous number has a green triangle in its corner, which is likely indicating that the Excel formula that added that column is out of pattern with the rest of the ones on that row (an Excel feature to help you see that something might be wrong), this is 99% the likely scenario.
(By the way, I’m writing this post, but it’s really the Mr. who did all this leg work. Him and his spreadsheets. He even has set up conditional formatting to indicate the strength of each candidate’s showing in each precinct. I kid you not. Spreadsheet geeks…)
As much as it pains me to give any blog pixels to the Cub…
Now that we have the questionnaires published, I wanted to talk about who I will be voting for.
I come from a voting family; my mom took me right when I was 18 to register, and I remember her voting, including in local Selectmen races in our rincky dink little New Hampshire town. I suppose she was a very big influence on me that way. Except, she was always very mum on who she voted for. I think, for her, it’s a private matter to keep to one’s self.
I’ve never felt quite that way about it, and especially since getting active in politics myself, I find myself wanting to talk about who I’m voting for and more importantly, why. Maybe no one cares who I’ll be checking off on my ballot on Tuesday. I don’t know. But if I want certain candidates to win, I’ve got to talk about them, don’t I? So skip to the flip and I’ll go over my ballot…I guess call them personal endorsements. (more…)
So here it is folks. The pièce de résistance. Official Left in Lowell candidate questionnaire answers! They are on their own web page, which you can find here.
On a side note, I really REALLY like this format. Comparing lots of apples to lots of other apples, and a few places for candidates to show off their knowledge. This could be the format going forward. Also, lots and lots of props to my wonderful husband who whipped the submitted answers into a format that I could literally copy and paste into the page for the data table. Love you hon!!!
Thanks also to our amazing readers for a very large chunk of the questions. Crowd sourcing works!
I am considering reopening up for submissions after the preliminary, since my timeframe was crushed a bit leading up to next Tuesday’s election. The unfair part is that anyone submitting answers after publication is getting an advantage of seeing what everyone else said; but if I were to notate who passed answers in after the prelim, would you want to see more answers from more candidates? Honest question. I’m good either way.
I wanted to publicly list the candidates who’ve sent in completed responses in case you are a candidate who did send one in but somehow it didn’t come through (it’s happened in at least one case) for whatever reason.
Here is who I have:
Make sure you send your file immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org (don’t forget the E on Lynne!) if yours bounced somehow and you are not on this list. We’re formatting the answers as we speak. Thanks!
Update: As I suspected, there was at least one other candidate whose questionnaire I was expecting back, who is not on this list but did get theirs in. Also another file SNAFU for another candidate I should have caught earlier and didn’t, so I’m waiting for that file to come in. By tomorrow early AM I expect to be published with the final questions. The good news? Wicked awesome yes/no data table complete with sorting by question and pop-ups for any question a candidate wanted to explain!
I’ve gotten a number of returns on questionnaires, but I just wanted to remind candidates you have until 5pm tomorrow (Thursday) night to pass them in! You can download the Excel or Word files here.
It’s a good opportunity to tell voters where you stand so take advantage!
Update: As I was saying, we should look out for this sort of thing.
“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse
Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don’t know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.
City Council candidate questionnaires went out last week, by mail since that’s the fairest way to reach everyone at the same time. But returning the questionnaires is an electronic effort this year - with 22 potential answers (one can dream!) I don’t want to have to transcribe, check and double-check returned paperwork. It’s much easier to have the data electronically.
Deadline (reminder to you candidates!) is Thursday Sept 19th at 5pm. I’ve begun receiving some answers already and I think you’ll be pleased with the format. It’ll be much easier to compare and contrast candidates.
If you want to check out the questionnaire, I’ve put them online for candidates to download at: candidates.leftinlowell.com. As previously mentioned, the bulk of the questions are simple yes/no questions, with five essay questions (the first being a space candidates can elaborate on any answer or skipped answer in the yes/no portion). I’ve culled the questions from among us editors as well as lots of great stuff from readers.
Once the deadline is past, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to compile them quickly. If I have time I’ll provide the yes/no portion as a sortable HTML table so you can see how each answer stacks up among the candidates. If not, then I will provide a spreadsheet of the data so those who know how to use Excel can do that on your own.
Thanks for all your suggestions and I hope you’ll find this voter guide useful. For any candidate who does not return the questionnaire, LiL reserves the right to fill in some yes/no answers, based on your stated positions or past votes. We think voters deserve to know where you stand. LiL will indicate which answers we fill in of course, if we do so. We suggest all candidates return the questionnaire, because no matter how you you feel about LiL, this is not about us, but about the voters, and we hope all candidates respect the voters enough to do the minimum amount of work this questionnaire requires.
With that, let’s get excited about voting!
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